BERLIN - An American man who suffered from AIDS appears to have been cured of the disease 20 months after receiving a targeted bone marrow transplant normally used to fight leukemia, his doctors said.If it is a fluke, it is something of a lucky fluke as it gives researchers something new to look at in teh fight to find a cure for AIDS. Remember, penicillin was discovered somewhat by accident.
While researchers — and the doctors themselves — caution that the case might be no more than a fluke, others say it may inspire a greater interest in gene therapy to fight the disease that claims 2 million lives each year. The virus has infected 33 million people worldwide.
Dr. Gero Huetter said Wedneday his 42-year-old patient, an American living in Berlin who was not identified, had been infected with the AIDS virus for more than a decade. But 20 months after undergoing a transplant of genetically selected bone marrow, he no longer shows signs of carrying the virus.
"We waited every day for a bad reading," Huetter said.
It has not come. Researchers at Berlin's Charite hospital and medical school say tests on his bone marrow, blood and other organ tissues have all been clean.
At the very least, this fluke is good news for one man and that provides hope.